European patent costs take a dive – France to sign London Agreement

In July this year, it was reported that France is about to sign the London agreement. In essence, after ratification by France, the agreement will come into force, and in ten countries so far, the infamously expensive translation fees will be partially or completely waived. More countries are expected to ratify over time.

A couple of days ago, Barbara Cookson from Filemot put up a practical guide to the agreement. The guide is very useful – take a look.

While the cost savings are welcome, there was some heated debate (and a little hot air) amongst commenters over at ipkat about the usefulness of the London Agreement.

Reacting to two of the more realistic cited difficulties:

  • greater difficulties in searching patents which may be in a variety of languages (or only have translated claims).

>>There will almost always be at least one English equivalent in the family which will come up on the search.

  • rather than a single translation for each language, paid for by the patent applicant, important patents will be translated many times over – by each interested party.

>>Seems a lot more efficient overall than having every single application translated into the language of each country in which the applicant wants protection.

2 Comments on “European patent costs take a dive – France to sign London Agreement

  1. Hi Duncan, I find it increasingly disturbing that such high dependence is placed on using the full text of patents as the basis of identifying relevant prior art or establishing freedom to operate.
    Searching should be based on language-independent classification systems and may be supplemented using language searching where possible.  Searchers by default have be linguists too.  The only people who will have difficulty in searching multilingual patent texts resulting from the London Agreement are therefore those who are not ‘professional’ patent searchers and form, in fact, part of the increasing number of service providers who claim to be professional searchers and use only very basic searching methods for their clients – resulting in very poor outcomes.
    Sorry to harp on about searching, but every day we come across people who have been sucked in by a searching company’s fancy website only to find they could have conducted a search much better themselves.  We constantly have to explain to our customers that we are not such a company and that things like ‘whether the description has been translated into english’ do not affect our results in any way…

  2. Leighton – Fantastic point – thank you.  I clearly fall into the non-searcher camp – so I really appreciate your comments.

%d bloggers like this: